At-Tuwani

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Road to Resistance—Palestinians repair thoroughfare in nonviolent action

On Saturday, 15 November 2014 the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee (a nonviolent Palestinian organisation resisting occupation in the South Hebron Hills region), coordinated an action to develop the road that connects the city of Yatta to At-Tuwani and surrounding villages located in the area Israel has designated Firing Zone 918.  Under the watchful eyes of the Israeli military and police, the action was attended by members of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, residents of At-Tuwani, Israeli peace activists from Ta’ayush, and internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and EAPPI.

The unpaved road that runs between villages and the town of Yatta is the access route that Palestinians travel for employment, education, water, healthcare, and other necessities of life.  Surrounded by the tarmacked roads developed by the Israeli state for the settlers living illegally in the area, the rubble and holes in the Palestinian roads illustrate the stark inequalities of power that characterise the Israeli occupation, and the specific context of the South Hebron Hills and Firing Zone 918. 

AT-TUWANI: Still in need of water

It’s four and a half years since I last worked in the South Hebron Hills village of at-Tuwani, so I was glad to go for an overnight stay.  There have been many changes since my last stint there with Christian Peacemaker Teams.  Of course, babies have been born, children have grown up, young people have married, and adults have aged.




At-Tuwani's school now has an
additional floor.

There have been some positive changes for the village.  It received a master plan some years ago from the Israeli authorities and so villagers are able to build and extend homes within the boundaries it specifies.  The school now has an additional floor and is safe from demolition (with which the Israeli authorities threatened it as soon as it was first built), so now the village school is able to take pupils from the beginning of primary school right through to the end of secondary school.  The village’s clinic is also safe from demolition.  There is mains electricity [an electrical grid] that the villagers attribute partly to Tony Blair’s visit to Tuwani in 2009, during which he described electricity as a human right, and the villagers have received permission to connect to the water main as well.

As one young man said to me, ‘Tuwani is a city now, Miriam: electricity, water . . .’

Prayers for Peacemakers, May 1, 2014

Prayers for Peacemakers, May 1, 2014

 

Pray for the people of At-Tuwani, who remain steadfast in their resistance to occupation, although settlements continue to confiscate lands they have depended on for their livelihood.

See blog post: Tuwani: still in need of water

 

Children walking to school in Tuwani from Tuba and Mighayer Al Abeed.  Ma'on is on the hill on the right.  Note the extensive polytunnels and the new orchard behind the children.  There is an extensive area of fruit trees out of shot to the right.

Children walking to school in Tuwani from Tuba and Mughayer Al Abeed. The Israeli settlement of Ma’on is on the hill to the right. Note the extensive settlement polytunnels and the settlement's new orchard behind the children.

AT-TUWANI: Military escort misconduct exposes Palestinian children to risk on their way to and from school

 




Photo of March 2010 school escort. Soldiers in
jeep.

On 9 April 2014, settlers from the Havat Ma’on outpost attacked children from the Palestinian villages of Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed.  The children were walking to school, accompanied by the Israeli military escort that has the duty to protect them every day on their way to and from school, as established in 2004 by the Israeli Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child.  During the 2013-2014 school year, the misconduct of this military escort has exposed the children to danger on numerous occasions.

In order to reach the school in the village of at-Tuwani, the Palestinian children from Tuba and Maghayir Al Abeed, who are between the ages of six and seventeen usually walk through the shortest route that passes between the Israeli settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on (Hill 833).  This route is the main road linking their villages and At Tuwani and takes about twenty minutes to complete.

On the morning of 9 April at 7:40 a.m., two Israeli children coming from Havat Ma’on attacked the Palestinian children by launching stones at them with slingshots, injuring a twelve-year-old girl and fourteen-year-old girl on their legs.  At the moment of the attack, the Israeli soldiers were not walking with the children as they are supposed to, but were inside the military vehicle, following behind the group of children.

PALESTINE: United Nations humanitarian appeals process accepts CPT Palestine as member

On 25 January 2012, CPT Palestine was officially accepted as a member of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for Palestine, which operates under the auspices of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Beyond serving as a venue for processing large donations, CAP allows for organizations supporting Palestinians’ right to life, liberty, and freedom to coordinate effective advocacy strategies.

The process also allows groups to share information about the various issues that arise from the Israeli military occupation of Palestine and disturbing trends in all parts of the West Bank and Gaza.

With CPT’s participation in the appeal, CPTers will also be able to expand the communication of their experiences to a wider international audience and participate in targeted lobbying efforts.

Examples of other organizations who have participated in the Consolidated Appeals Process include Church World Service, Mercy Corps, Oxfam, Samaritan’s Purse, Save the Children, and Unicef.

To learn more about the appeal see
http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ochaopt_cap_2012_full_document_english.pdf

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Israeli military arrests two young women after demolishing houses and mosque in Um Fagarah village.

On 24 November 2011, at 9:00 am, the Israeli army, with more than five Israeli army jeeps and two bulldozers, drove into the small village of Um Fagarah and demolished two houses and the village mosque.  During the demolition, they arrested a twenty-one-year-old woman and a seventeen-year-old woman.  They left one hour later.

One of the demolished homes belonged to a widow and her family; the other housed an extended family of twenty.  The soldiers did not have demolition orders or give any explanation for the demolitions, but called the village women 'whores' and entered at a time of day when most of the men were away at work.

AT-TUWANI: CPT-Palestine closes At-Tuwani project

 In 2004, the village of At-Tuwani and its Israeli partner, Ta'ayush, approached CPT's Hebron team and the Italian peace group, Operation Dove, asking if they could provide accompaniment for the children of the village, whom settlers regularly attacked as they walked to and from school.  Although CPT had made regular visits to the South Hebron Hills villages over the years, the team on the ground and the organization as a whole deemed it important to respond to the villagers' request for a permanent presence in At-Tuwani.

Seven years later, CPT-Palestine is closing its At-Tuwani project, because the growth of the South Hebron Hills nonviolent organizing work has made the presence of CPT less critical.  The shepherds of At-Tuwani and surrounding villages now are part of a large nonviolent resistance network encompassing various regions of Palestine.  They belong to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, and South Hebron Hills leaders regularly plan nonviolent actions to which they invite Israeli and international groups.  They also offer nonviolence trainings to men and women in the region.

AT-TUWANI: Israeli military fails to escort children twice in one day

On 16 October, the Israeli military failed, twice, to escort the school children of Tuba and Maghayir al Abeed past Ma'on settlement and Havat Ma'on outpost. Because Israeli settlers have attacked and harassed the Palestinian schoolchildren multiple times in the past, the Israeli military made a commitment to villagers in the South Hebron Hills that soldiers would accompany the children if international groups such as CPT and Operation Dove agreed to stop accompanying them. CPT and Operation Dove now monitor the escort from hilltops at the start and finish of the escort.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Communities march to celebrate solidarity and nonviolence's power

On 25 September, more than one hundred people from different communities in the South Hebron Hills participated in a peace march to celebrate the power of nonviolence and the resilient spirit of the people of the South Hebron Hills.  The event was timed to coincide with the annual Perugia-Assisi Peace March in Italy, in which 50,000 Italians and internationals participated.

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Israeli military demolishes homes and bathroom in Umm al Kheer

The Israeli army demolished three dwellings and a bathroom in the Palestinian village of Umm al Kheer early in the morning of 8 September 2011.  According to UN field workers at the sight, the demolitions left eight adults and sixteen children homeless.

The Israeli army and the District Coordinating Office arrived at the village of Umm al Kheer around 7:00 a.m. and declared it a closed military zone, preventing Palestinians and internationals from entering the area.  The army then used a backhoe and a bulldozer to demolish the three homes and the bathroom.  According to villagers, one of the destroyed homes was a tent donated by Oxfam.  The other two were metal shacks purchased and built by the residents.  The villagers said that this was the second time that the military demolished the homes of the families living in the metal shacks.

All of the destroyed structures had existing demolition orders, but according to people from the village, the military arrived with a demolition order that was not for the three homes and the toilet, but rather for a taboun oven in the village.  The military originally wanted to destroy the taboun oven three days earlier, but a lawyer representing the village succeeded in getting a two-day stay on the demolition order.  The military did not demolish the taboun oven.